Colin Firth investigates James Hamrick in the clumsy docudrama The Devil’s Knot.
DEVIL’S KNOT (Atom Egoyan). See listing. Rating: NN
After three Paradise Lost documentaries and Amy Berg's subsequent West Of Memphis, it seems there's simply nothing left to say about the child murders in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Certainly Atom Egoyan's dull dramatization of the prosecution of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. for the murders of Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch and Michael Moore brings nothing new to the table.
Egoyan must have seen the project as a chance to revisit the themes of The Sweet Hereafter, another film about a community ravaged by the inexplicable death of its children. But he squanders that opportunity by following an outside investigator (Colin Firth) attempting to help defence attorneys build an alternate theory of the crimes.
The script shifts clumsily between multiple perspectives - most histrionically that of Reese Witherspoon's distraught mother - while lazily teasing potential theories of the crime that weren't fully explored until after the trial. The cast is tonally all over the place, and the whole thing is framed, cut and scored like cheap TV. I've never seen a movie shot by Paul Sarossy that looked this bad.